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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-boggling., 23 Feb 2010
This review is from: Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary: With additional material from A Thesaurus of Old English (Hardcover)
In declining the Nobel Prize in 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre commented that `a writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form'.

Perhaps, however, an institution--in this case represented by the Glasgow University team that over 40 years compiled this quite extraordinary resource-- could be considered as a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Not only would such consideration be, I think, more than merited, but would constitute a move away from the recognition of the individual writer in favour of recognising a long-term collaborative research project, particularly one which underscores the debt which the English language owes to other tongues and times. Such an award might also send out a warning regarding the climate of financial immediacy prevalent in today's universities, which too often demote educational considerations to those of a second order of importance. The prize money could, potentially, be used to ensure that as many public libraries as possible are supplied with this resource.

On considering the research which has gone into even individual entries, you don't end up wondering at how long the research project took but, rather, how they managed to do it at all, never mind in only 40 years. Mind-boggling.
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